Maundy Thursday.
It’s today.
A day that shocks in its intensity.

Jesus, the beloved rabbi is about to be betrayed. Not by an enemy, but betrayed by a follower, a friend, a disciple, someone who said he loved Jesus.

Even though we recoil at the word ‘betrayal,’ if we were honest, betrayal didn’t end “back then.” Judas betrayed his friend, his mentor, his rabbi. What drove him to such a decision? Many of us have experienced betrayal by a friend, mentor, family member. What drove those people to betray us? What drives us to betray another?

To put it another way – when someone is betrayed, has God been betrayed?

When we allow fondness for wealth or fame to overwhelm our call to be persons of justice and mercy; if we name ourselves Christian, yet think unloving thoughts about another; when we are selfish and put our wants before the needs of others, have we betrayed the Holy One?

When we refuse to be uplifted, enabled, and transformed by the wisdom or experience of another; when we only see how right we are and ignore the learning that comes in acknowledging that we have made a mistake, have we betrayed the Creator?

When we will not accept God’s support and grace, strengthening us for the tasks we have been asked to undertake, or the new ministry roles we are challenged to experience, have we betrayed the Beloved Rabbi?

When say we love God, have answered ‘yes’ to any of the above,
is our connection to Judas tangible?

Today, known as Maundy Thursday, is a day to feel the pain and shock of Judas’ betrayal.

Today is a day to consider moments in our own lives when we have betrayed the trust of others.

And, today can be a day to receive a redemptive blessing when we are willing to name our own betrayals.

As disciples of Jesus, this day offers an opportunity to honestly look at the betrayals that emerge from within us and confront the moments when we have betrayed God; when we have not forgiven another; those times we acknowledge we dislike another or when we speak or think unkindly of another betraying our common humanity by our words or thoughts or tweets or texts.

On this day, with less than twenty-four hours left on earth, the man Jesus gathered the disciples away from the crowds in a ritual of gathering for a meal, so familiar to them, yet this time, so very different.

As Jesus rises from his place, ties a towel around his waist, surely the disciples looked at each other and asked themselves “What is he doing?”

Then they see
And understand.

He washes their feet.
He gives them his final teaching: the commandment (mandatum – from which we get the name Maundy Thursday) … to love one another.

Jesus gave a way of remembering Him with a simple ritual:
“Sit at table. Take bread. Break it. Share it. Pour out wine. Share it.
Feed one another. Love one another. When you do that, you remember Me. When I’m gone and you feel lost, uncertain of my presence, do this and remember Me.”

Many around the world gather this day for a simple service of worship that might include foot washing, sharing of bread and wine and stripping of the Altar as a reminder that living the Life of Love which Jesus lived, led him to be stripped and taken away.

Loving one another as Jesus loved long ago, and as Jesus loves today, through us leads us to be ‘stripped’ of the unimportant things in life and bring us closer to the One who loves us unconditionally.

On this holy Maundy Thursday, may we receive the story of Jesus in a spirit of humility and draw closer to one another and to the One who loves … always loves … and loves unconditionally.

© June Maffin

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© June Maffin